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Is Golf School For You?

Many of my friends around the country who’ve been caught inside during this week’s record cold, mentioned they are starting to look forward to their courses opening (even if it’s 60 days away in many places) and the formal start of the 2021 golf season.

In the interim, they asked me if I had attended any golf schools and could make recommendations.  As someone who took up the game in my 30s, golf schools were where I learned the game.  They let my husband and I get out of Denver when it could still be unpredictably cold and snowy (did you know that Denver’s snowiest month is March?).  It was an opportunity for us to get a jump on our game before the season hit.

If you’ve had your vaccinations and are willing to fly or drive, attending a golf school may be the perfect escape from winter, as well as the wind and rain of spring.  They are generally affiliated or adjacent to nice hotels and in warm places — Phoenix, Florida, Austin or Southern California.  I have attended two of the schools I am reviewing myself — both of them more than once— and have had friends attend two others about which they gave me a detailed review.  Of course, there are dozens of schools, far more than I can review here, but I can recommend these four without hesitation.

One thing to keep in mind is that both you and your spouse or partner can attend school together.  In fact, I think it’s a really good idea (this worked well for my husband and I).  You may be different skill levels, but you are both using the same terminology.  Your partner knows what you’ve been taught and vice versa which puts you both on the same page.

Every school is different though.  Some are, I think, better for more advanced players than others.  Whereas certain schools are better for women and beginners.  Still others are good for those who have been playing forever and want to improve by eliminating swing flaws.  The schools may not quite agree with my characterization of their strengths or market position.  That’s the life of a reviewer, I guess.

Most schools are three days.  Some are four.  And some are limited to just two days.  It’s an adventure.  From experience, I will tell you that you will be tired and your hands will hurt afterward. You’ll have hit more balls in one day than you probably have in a year.  Your body will ache, your brain will be on overload and you will be exhausted, but it will be worth it.    Results don’t always show immediately.  It takes time (weeks to months) to work through all that you learned during the duration of your school.  Be patient.

Finally, I have no affiliation with any of these schools.  I can only pass along what my experience, and the experience of my friends were.  I can say those I attended drastically improved my game in the following season.  My friends who attended the other schools came home with much improved swings they carried over into the summer.

My Recommendation for Women, Beginners and Those with Handicaps of 12-15 or Higher

John Jacobs Golf Schools & Academies, I believe, has taught more players than any other.  More than 500,000 since 1971.  They are one of the most affordable schools.  I have attended their school six times.  That’s not a typo.  Six times.  My husband, a single-digit handicap, went with me to my very first school — this is where it was helpful to have him there to see what I was working on and how they taught me.  I also attended school with my Aunt Jacki, as well as traveling with friends making it a girls trip several times.

Their approach is incredibly easy to understand.  It’s centered around one key factor – how the ball reacts after it has left the clubface.  It was an idea that changed the face of golf instruction in the 1960’s and inspires coaches to this very day.  I still use some of the techniques they first taught me in 2000.  One is GASP— take your Grip, Aim, take your Stance and then get into Posture.  I also still use their chipping set-up 20 years after it was first taught to me.

My Recommendation for Players Who Can Hit the Ball But Struggle with Short Game and Putting

If this is you, head to a Dave Pelz Scoring Game School.  This is a specialty school, short game only.  I have been three times.  Half (or more) of your strokes are going to come on the greens and within wedge distance of the putting surface.  You will be transformed by Pelz, guaranteed.  However, I must warn you that if you do not have a reasonably well-developed golf swing, you will have difficulty getting the full value from this school.  I love Dave Pelz.  I love the people who work with him and love his instructors.  However, when attending their schools I could see that it was players with stronger full swings that were getting much more out of the experience than those with inconsistent ball striking.  Pelz offers both 2- and 3-day schools.  The 3-day includes putting, and it’s really, really, really worth it.

You’ve Played Many Years But Aren’t Able to Get Better

I have had friends attend both the David Leadbetter in Orlando and Jim Mclean in Miami golf schools.  I understand both have multi-day schools for all levels of players.  However, my friends were couples who had played golf for 10-20 years and had found their games deteriorating due to age or inherent unaddressed swing flaws.  They wanted to see if they could be given changes that would make a difference.  Both couples returned from school with obviously improved swings.  Most important was they clearly were enjoying playing golf more than they had in many years.  Both of these schools have taught thousands of players over the past 30 years.  You can’t go wrong. and

I know there are other great schools out there.  I’d like to hear about your experience.  Don’t hesitate to let me know it so I can share it with community!  Feel free to shoot me an email to with any questions or comments as well.

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